Baldwin & Jones Pocket Watch

This watch was made in 1815 and has one of the most technically advanced escapements available at the time, an Edward Massey type 1 lever escapement. Massey developed 5 variations of his crank lever escapement. This is one of the earliest known surviving examples.

Massey Type 1 Escapement

The firm Baldwin & Jones of Boston were well known and respected watch retailers from 1813 to 1817. This interesting partnership has a long chain of watchmaking genealogy that is part of the history of one of the oldest jewelry stores in North America, Shreve, Crump & Low that still operates to this day. Baldwin is Jabez Baldwin and Jones is John Jones. Both men were involved in many partnerships. Jabez Baldwin apprenticed to Jedediah Baldwin in 1790 who in turn apprenticed to the most famous clock and watchmaker in Connecticut, Thomas Harland. Jabez Baldwin was well established as a watchmaker and silversmith when he acquired John McFarlane’s business (established 1796) located at 51 Old Marlborough Street. John Jones, who may have been working with McFarlane, became Baldwin’s partner to form the watchmaking firm Baldwin & Jones.

Baldwin & Jones Pocket Watches

Gilt brass Massey 1 lever escapement engraved Baldwin & Jones, Boston, (serial number) 735. Bi-metallic balance with a blued steel inner rim and brass outer rim. Novel banking pin design on the back plate that allows adjustment with a screw rather than physically bending the pins.

Engraved balance table marked “Patent” on the foot. Underside stamped EM P 671 which may indicate that Edward Massey himself installed the escapement. “EM P” stands for Edward Massey Patent, and 671 is Massey’s escapement numbering system. Original white enamel dial with gold hands.

Heavy gold pair case hallmarked Chester, 1815, 18K with makers’ mark “HH” incuse in script for Hannah Howard of Liverpool. 53mm. While marked 18 carat, the case tested at about 14K. Some number of English casemakers may have been able to circumvent the assay laws in England to earn more profit as in this example, perhaps knowing that the watch was destined for export to America. Casemaker Ralph Samuel of Chester was caught (Priestly, p. 298). Interestingly, 18K marks on American gold-made cases are also known to be fraudulent during this time period. More research is needed in this area. There is also a makers' mark on the gold bow that appears to be "V V".

Faux Chester Hallmarks
Early American Watches
Boston Watchmakers
American Watchpapers

Watch paper for Horton & Rikeman of Savannah, Georgia within the case.

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Philip Priestley, British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, 2018

  • William Erik Voss,

  • Alan Treherne, "Edward Massey's Lever Escapement." Your Time - Including the Contribution of Northwest England to the Development of Clocks and Watches, Edited by John Robey, Antiquarian Horological Society, 2008